Yadama and Walsh Visit with Governor Baker to Address Opioid Addiction

Walsh and Yadama (second & third from right) visit with Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary Marylou Sudders, and representatives from the nine schools of social work in Massachusetts.

BCSSW Dean Gautam Yadama and Associate Dean Tom Walsh met with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker yesterday, as the Baker administration announced a first-in-the-nation set of educational core principles for social workers designed to address opioid addiction and treatment.

Yadama and Walsh were joined at the State House by representatives of all nine of the Commonwealth’s schools of social work, as well as Health and Human Services Secretary and BCSSW Visiting Professor Marylou Sudders, as the cohort convened to finalize principles which have been under discussion since this past April. Yadama was invited to offer remarks on behalf of the nine schools.

“The work of the task force in developing a set of core competencies in primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention provides a blueprint for Schools of Social Work to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for all social work students,” he said. “… Social workers need to have the skills to deal with this ongoing crisis and this initiative to unify the schools into taking collective action to address these training needs will have far reaching positive consequences for the people we serve.”

According to the Baker administration, the schools of social work join community health centers, and medical, nursing, physician assistant and dental schools, among those institutions who have already agreed to emphasize substance use disorder education. Yadama spoke to the importance of adopting this kind of transdisciplinary approach to the issue of addiction:

“Solving the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts is a complex social problem, and it is one that we will need to be able to address, not only across schools, but across other disciplines as well. We look forward to working with our colleagues in social work, the government, and across sectors in health care to develop interventions to create positive change.”

For more information on how the core principles have been defined, read this press release from the State House.

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